One of the technologies I’ve always loved from sci-fi series such as Star Trek, was the translator ability where anyone was able to instantly understand the language of another being. It was one of those ambitious futurist ideas that would global travel easier seeing as how you wouldn’t need to learn new languages and gestures.
If there is one benefit that has come out of the tragic pandemic that is Covid-19, it’s the start of this dream being realised thanks to a Japanese company, Donut Robotics, that has decided to finally make wearing a face mask more useful by embedding technology into it that translates what the wearer is saying.
Dubbed the C-FACE Smart Mask, it means that you can sound a lot more intelligent and multi-lingual (up to 8 languages) while you help stop the spread of Covid-19 by wearing your mask. At present, the mask can only translate speech from Japanese into Vietnamese, English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, and French, so it’s not going to be of too much use to us, but with online translation tools widely available, it’s only a matter of time before more languages are added to the mix.
The mask connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, which it uses to do the translation of words into text messages or dictate the text back and even make phone calls. It’s not quite as fancy as what we have seen on Star Trek, but we have to start somewhere.
These masks are expected to cost around $40 (R650) when they release in Japan this September, before expanding to the US, China and Europe later in the year. It’s not a bad price for a device like this, though I do suspect that it may lose its cool factor once a vaccine has been found for the pandemic.
Last Updated: July 28, 2020